Get an Early Start on Your Higher Education
Get an Early Start on Your Higher Education
6th and 7th Grades
· Read something you enjoy every day.
· Learn to write reports and short essays and how to edit them.
· Keep a daily date book and organize your folders.
· Set up your own study area at home, away from TV's and Play Stations.
· Learn to use a word processor and develop strong typing skills.
8th and 9th Grades
· Enroll in challenging courses; honors courses provide the best preparation for college. You want to become a good thinker.
· Work on developing good reading and writing strategies. The faster you read and write, the better you understand what you read, the easier school will become. Read something every day. If you are reading too slowly, consider taking a speed reading class.
· Keep writing and learn to edit your work. If you're still shaky in spelling and grammar, this is a good time to learn or relearn the rules.
· Start to 'think' math and not just 'do' math; ask your teacher a 'why' question every day. Learn to estimate; this is a skill you will use on all multiple choice math test.
· Begin to think like a researcher and scientist and examine why you are learning various scientific principles.
· Enroll in a foreign language if you haven't done so already. Most colleges are requiring a minimum of two years of foreign language. By taking a foreign language in secondary school, you may be able to test out of it in college.
· Take the Explorer test, which is an 8th grade version of the ACT. This is not a competitive test but is used as a diagnostic instrument.
· Develop good organization and study skills.
· Join extracurricular activities, but be reasonable. Limit outside activities to two or three at most.
· Remember that in 9th grade you are in high school--which means your grades and courses go on your permanent record that will be sent to colleges, technical schools, and employers! Your cumulative GPA begins the first day of school.
· Keep taking the most challenging classes in math, science, social studies, English, and humanities. A 'B' in an honors course is better than an 'A' in a regular course.
· Read--read--READ! Reading is the best way to build a strong vocabulary. Newspapers and news magazines are excellent.
· Take the PSAT in October for practice; this is a shortened version of the SAT.
· Take the PLAN test (ACT) for practice; this is a shortened version of the ACT.
· Watch out for those extracurricular activities, including jobs. Put your schoolwork (and grades) first; avoid work schedules that keep you up late on school nights.
· Start keeping a file of your activities, accomplishments, and work experience. You will be glad to have this information when you dill in college applications or write resumes.
· Start sending away for college information and visiting schools.
PARENTS: Financial aid is available, but you must know how and where to look for it. High school counselors can help you.
· Take the PSAT in October--this is the qualifying test for the Merit Scholarship.
· Take the ACT or SAT--spring is a good time to schedule this test.
Midwestern colleges and most schools on the West coast (including Stanford) accept ACT scores. Eastern colleges are beginning to accept ACT scores, but still prefer the SAT. It is safest to prepare for and take both tests.
Prepare for each test! The ACT and SAT are both teachable exams, and preparation will boost your scores. Work hard to get ready for this test so you can get a high score and won't have to take it again senior year (when you will be busy filling out applications and organizing campus visits).
· During the summer, continue to visit colleges. Ask to see behind the scenes and to visit classes. Remember that each college representative will tell you his/her school is the best, has the highest expectations, and produces the best graduates. Don't be awed or intimidated.
· Retake the ACT or SAT if you are dissatisfied with your earlier scores. All scores are recorded on your permanent record, but colleges typically look at the highest scores during the admissions process.
· Fill in applications as early as possible. Many schools have rolling admissions, and selective state schools such as the University of Michigan and Illinois fill their out-of-state quotas early.
· AP (Advanced Placement) and CLEP tests are an inexpensive way to earn college credit. Also, consider taking some correspondence classes.